At a Crossroads

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When a man thinks happily, he finds no foot-track in the field he traverses.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson from “Quotation and Originality”

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Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back…
~Robert Frost from “The Road Not Taken”
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Two lonely cross-roads that themselves cross each other I have walked several times this winter without meeting or overtaking so much as a single person on foot or on runners. The practically unbroken condition of both for several days after a snow or a blow proves that neither is much travelled. Judge then how surprised I was the other evening as I came down one to see a man, who to my own unfamiliar eyes and in the dusk looked for all the world like myself, coming down the other, his approach to the point where our paths must intersect being so timed that unless one of us pulled up we must inevitably collide. I felt as if I was going to meet my own image in a slanting mirror. Or say I felt as we slowly converged on the same point with the same noiseless yet laborious stride as if we were two images about to float together with the uncrossing of someone’s eyes. I verily expected to take up or absorb this other self and feel the stronger by the addition for the three-mile journey home. But I didn’t go forward to the touch. I stood still in wonderment and let him pass by; and that, too, with the fatal omission of not trying to find out by a comparison of lives and immediate and remote interests what could have brought us by crossing paths to the same point in a wilderness at the same moment of nightfall. Some purpose I doubt not, if we could but have made out. I like a coincidence almost as well as an incongruity.
~Robert Frost from “Selected Letters”
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All the World is Leafy Green

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Some of the most powerful memories of summer come out of our childhood when we wake up on a June morning and suddenly remember that school is out and that summer stretches in front of us as endlessly as the infinities of space. Everything is different. The old routines are gone. The relentless school bus isn’t coming. The bells will be silent in silent hallways. And all the world is leafy green, and will be green, forever and ever.
~Ray Bradbury

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Living in a Barn

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“A barn is a sanctuary in an unsettled world, a sheltered place where life’s true priorities are clear. When you take a step back, it’s not just about horses — its about love, life, and learning.”
~ Lauren Davis Barker, editor of “Flying Changes”

Most people who know me would say I do live in a barn, and it is true that many of my waking hours at home are spent in the barn — cleaning, feeding, storing away, mulling and just being.  But I have never actually lived in a barn, that is, until today.

Dan and I are spending much of the next week living in a old stone barn built around 1802 in County Down in Northern Ireland, on the old Jones farm where Dan’s great great grandmother Susan Jones Macrory, was born and lived.   Now owned by Jones’ descendants Keith and Elizabeth Smith, Moydalgan Barn has been converted into a cottage that is set in the middle of some of the most beautiful farmland.    I am now sitting in the loft, in a bedroom where hay once was piled high.  Dan is overwhelmed by the emotions of staying on the farm where his Scottish-Irish ancestors were born and lived and walked.

It is the beginning of two weeks of local countryside travels that will take us to landscapes I hope to remember here.

And to remember, anything that is important, anything that means anything, started in a barn.

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